Chapter 1: The Language of Suddenness
This appearance is not going to be gradual, not partial. Hyakujo’s great contribution was the sudden enlightenment, because it is so illogical. If you go from here to the market, you have to go - not like the monkey god of Hindus, flying in the sky, carrying a mountain, jumping from one mountain to another mountain.You will have to go step by step. You will have to move gradually. You cannot simply disappear from Buddha Auditorium and find yourself in the M.G Road marketplace.
In our actual life we never come across anything sudden: you never see the bud of a rose suddenly becoming a flower; it opens gradually. In the morning it was a bud, in the evening it becomes the flower. Because of the continuous experience of gradualness, the major masters of Zen belonged to the gradual school. To them it was absolutely absurd that you can become a buddha instantaneously, just now.
Everything needs time. If you want to prepare a house, a garden, a painting, a poem, it will take time. There is only one thing that does not take time, because it is beyond time, that is your buddhahood. You simply jump out of time and you find yourself as you have been always and will be always - your intrinsic nature.
Hyakujo introduced another thing: Zen monasteries. Before him there were Zen temples - small groups of people living in those temples, meditating, reading scriptures. But he introduced a new thing, the monastery, where people were absolutely devoted to a single-pointed goal: to become the buddha. No scriptures, no rituals.the whole energy has to be poured into a single direction: to discovering your intrinsic nature. And why monasteries? When there are thousands of people together, going into the unknown, it is easier for you, because you know that although you are going alone into your own space, thousands of others are also going into the same space on their own. You are not absolutely alone. Secondly, a monastery creates a certain atmosphere. That was the greatest contribution of Hyakujo.
A monastery is a climate. Its every fiber, every wave.every leaf of the trees is soaked with only one longing: a great urgency to become the buddha. And when ten thousand people, for years, continuously go on working, it creates an energy field. In that energy field you can be caught and you can easily slip out of your mind. Alone, it is a little difficult. Alone it can happen, it has happened too, but that is not the rule.
Hyakujo’s great insight of introducing monasteries, simply means introducing an energy field which is not visible to you. When ten thousand sannyasins here enter into their inner being, in a way they are alone, but in a way ten thousand people are with them. The experiment is not being done in their cells alone, but in the open, under the sky, with thousands of other people on the same track, creating vibrations, ripples of energy.
Not to become a buddha in such a climate, you would have to struggle against the whole energy field, you would have to swim upstream. But if you want to become a buddha, you simply go with the stream. A deep let-go is possible in that atmosphere. Hyakujo introduced a very scientific concept of monasteries.